Security concerns raised after sex offender escapes from correctional centre
CTV News has learned more about a high-risk sex offender who got away from a halfway house in Dartmouth on Sunday.
Joshua James Turner is wrapping up a lengthy sentence for sexual assault using force.
It wasn't his first offence -- and it also apparently wasn't his first escape.
Tucked away in the Burnside Industrial Park, the Jamieson Community Correctional Centre was ground zero for a massive manhunt on Sunday.
The focus was the 35-year-old Turner, who has been labelled a high-risk offender, and who apparently only arrived at the facility last Thursday.
Douglas Saulnier, who is an inmate at the same facility, happened to be out for a smoke at the time.
“Buddy ran away, I don't know, about 8:30,” said Saulnier. “I was up the street, you know, smoking a cigarette, you know, and police pulled me over and told me, ‘Did I see this guy? And he's a high-risk sex offender.’”
Barry Brugger is another inmate at the correctional centre.
“All I know, if he was on a 10-minute watch, and he was real hyper and he was in and out of the doors in the pod and in and out, going outside,” Brugger said.
Parole documents reveal Turner has a long history of offences, and was wrapping up a four-year term for assaulting two women in a dental office out west while armed with a pair of scissors.
He was ordered to be put under “long-term supervision,” and the board expressed concerns about Turner's prospects for rehabilitation.
“What presents is an individual who is either unwilling or unable to exercise self-control,” the report read.
“You are both manipulative and opportunistic when it comes to sexually oriented offending. However, you are also impulsive and undeterred.”
None of this was surprising to the union representing workers in minimum-security institutions, who say members are understaffed and over-worked.
“It's not surprising to me,” said Carol Osborne, the regional vice-president of the Union of Safety and Justice Employees. “I've seen this going on. It's a trend that's been going on in the community for years now, and I do believe it's a direct correlation between understaffing.”
It would appear Turner has taken flight before -- at least three times in the last 11 years, police in Winnipeg have alerted the public about a man named Joshua James Turner, who was considered unlawfully at large.
People who work near the Dartmouth correctional centre say the facility has generally been quiet since it opened in the summer of 2017.
“We've talked about it in the office that they'd be foolish to commit a crime where they live because that would be the first place police would go,” said Sharon Poulain.
Turner's freedom was short-lived. He was picked up by police less than six hours after he was reported missing, and he was reportedly being held being held in a secure facility Monday night.
Halifax Regional Police say the matter is still under investigation, but sources tell CTV News charges are expected, which means he will not be returning to the Jamieson Community Correctional Centre anytime soon.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.